Campo Santo resurrects its own in Richard Montoya's 'The River'
There's a tendency to take the loopy humor in the play's looping narrative a little too broadly at times, but there's both laughs and a kind of half-bitter, half-defiant recognition in the satirical zigzags, as when Lance (played with spoiled but knowing charm by White) announces his desire to have a baby "and prenatal Bikram yoga classes," — much to the horror of his partner, unemployed Salvadoran Cal Arts grad Javier (played with a cutting, randy intensity by Valdez) — only to be gripped a moment later by a bad trip that throws all his assumptions into turmoil: "Everything I learned is wrong!" he freaks incredulously. "I got my PhD in hip-hop culture?"
If the production proves inconsistent in its navigation of The River's demanding dialogue and snaking emotional shifts, however, the top of the second act briefly turns it all around with the introduction of Donald Lacy's character, Brother Ballard. Lacy, a veteran of some leading Campo Santo's productions, beautifully delivers a monologue of days-gone-by with an inspired precision and verve that recall precisely the muscular theatrical vitality, the street-wise insouciant wit and effortless cool of so many Campo Santo shows past. The confluence of present and past are never more acutely felt, and the impact is bracing.
Through May 4
Thu-Sun, 8pm, $30
A.C.T. Costume Shop
1117 Market, SF